Market Alignment - Round Hole, Square Peg Syndrome

I recently participated in an interview with a CEO who had taken over after the company's Board of Directors ousted the previous guy.  Apparently indifference to the customers and short-sightedness were not attributes the board had hoped for in their chief visionary.

This company had not seen growth nor profitability since its inception through year six.  There were a lot of reasons for this, but one of the biggest problems was a complete disregard for the importance of engaging their customers.  According to the current CEO, their customers had been alienated and had no interest in falling into the category of "strategic customers."  He added that the previous company philosophy was based on a "Build it and they will come" mentality.

According to the current CEO - "Mapping out a strategy for ongoing partnerships is the key.  Engaging our customers at a strategic level would be the core philosophy for successfully transforming the business."

The results have been phenomenal, and more details on that will follow.  But suffice it to say, that in June of 2009, a D&B survey of customers rated this company higher than all of its competitors in EACH of the following NINE categories:
  1.   How reliably this company follows through on its commitments
  2.   How closely final total costs correspond to expectations at the beginning of the transaction
  3.   How well the service matched specifications and quality
  4.   Satisfaction with timeliness of the service
  5.   Satisfaction with the quality of the service provided by this company
  6.   How easy this company is to do business with
  7.   Satisfaction based on attitude, courtesy and professionalism of this company’s staff
  8.   Satisfactory customer support received from this company
  9.   How responsive this company was to information requests, issues or problems that arose. 

None of the above can be successfully executed without having an effective means for engaging the customers and understanding their needs and expecations.  Clearly, listening to the voice of the customer now allows the company to reap the rewards.

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